Greg interviews Khun Weena, founder of the Thailand Clean Air Network and an expert on air pollution in Thailand to discuss the who, the what, the why and the WTF behind Thailand’s annual season of poisonous, toxic air.
She begins by outlining the fundamental problem: more or less unchecked economic growth, not only in Thailand but around Asia as well, especially in gigantic countries such as India and China. Although the problem has been around for a while, public interest has peaked due to the increased spread of information about the problem.
According to Khun Weena, one problem is Thailand’s actual standard for what counts as a problem: the current cutoff of PM 2.5 is 50 parts per million, but the WHO recommends a level of 25 parts per million. Further, there is a misperception of the actual risk of bad air: although the coronavirus has killed 65 Thais, it is estimated that 66,000 (!) Thais die per year due to illnesses directly related to air pollution.
Greg and Khun Ween continue to discuss many facets of the problem, including what changes Thailand can make to move in the right direction. Although the problem is complex and longstanding, there is increased focus on the issue by the general public and NGOs such as Khun Weena’s, and the Thai government is slowly…slowly moving into action.
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